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  1. #1
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    VMWare ESXI Host plus 2 VMs: backup to second HDD?

    I have a VMWare ESXi based server with two virtual machines. I currently have the following set up:
    500Gb Datastore for ESXi
    2Tb HDD whcih copes with the two machines
    2Tb HDD which I want to use for backups of the two machines
    Can someone help with a solution for me?

    I have read about:
    Veeam backup (can't work out where it gets installed)
    R1Soft - looks like it is installed on each VM - gets expensive!
    Acronis - also installed per server and also fairly expensive.

    How can I get a backup copy of the VMs made to the second HDD and have this keep itself up to date?
    ESXi does not provide a RAID solution, otherwise I would have used that.... (but I might have wiped the HDD with the two VMs in the process)....

    Help is much appreciated!

  2. #2
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    Veeam free backup will do what you require, but the backup is manual.
    You need a separate machine to perform the backup, server or workstation. See the Veeam system requirements. This machine connects to VMware and takes a snapshot, which is then copied to the storage location.

    RAID should always be done in hardware, then the VM OS just deals with a single disk and recovery is handled by the hardware. You can do that as part of the server hardware or use a dedicated storage system and connect via fibre / copper.

    Any decent automated backup system will cost money, the amount goes up when you have virtual machines, mainly because the task is more complex - there is also the old "how much will the market bear" adage.

    cheers, Paul

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  4. #3
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    Hi Paul
    Thanks for the response - Since I am new to this virtualisation process, could you clarify some of what I understand:
    1. I will need two separate physical machines in order to run VEAM Backup and Restore - the current production machine with 3 VMs + one machine to run Windows and Veam Backup + one to receive the backups of the servers.
    2. This will run only on command.... so it cannot be automated to run once a day for example.
    3. There is no way of setting up a raid under VMWare ESXI - it does not support raid (unless its hardware raid, which I don't have access to :-()

    Could I use a Virtual Machine to run Veam Backup from rather than a physical machine?
    Could I use the second HDD on the machine as destination for the images (or data) that is being Backed up?

    Thanks again for the tips!

  5. #4
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    1. You can use a VM for Veaam.
    2. As I understand it, the free version of Veaam has no automation. You could probably automated it with something like AutoIt.
    3. You should never use software RAID IMO. Hardware RAID is the only reliable mechanism. This seems to be the implied position of VMware, thus no RAID support.

    You can use any disk to store the backup, but you should not use one that is part of the VM hardware as failure of that disk renders your backup and the VMs unusable. You can connect an external disk to the VM host and backup to that via the VM running Veaam, or you can connect to an external PC using a network share and backup to that.
    No matter what you use you need to think about how you will recover the data to the VM host if the host fails - no VM running Veaam.

    cheers, Paul

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  7. #5
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    Paul you are making this sound so simple..... thank you!
    If I get this right, I can set up this situation:
    1. Create a VM to run VEAM on the same data store that ESXI is installed (I assume this is the one that has no VMs on it at present- a 500Gb HDD with just a folder called .sdd.sf).
    2. Use VEAM to Backup the VMs on the one drive to the second HDD (One of the 2TB drives to the other one). Manual process to start off with, then automating the process for a daily backup perhaps.

    This would mean that the VMs are secure, should the primary 2TB HDD fail (or at least only a day or so old). All that would be needed would be to mount the backup VM machines, and turn them on....!
    If the 500Gb drive with ESXI were to fail, it would mean replacement of that HDD with a second, and the installation of ESXI software onto that drive once more, mounting of the VMs on the 2TB drive, and away we go.... If I were able to make a backup copy of the Veam VM, then that can also be fairly easily restored, and would not be critical to the performance of the other production VMs.

    I hope I have got the principle right now... and thanks for great help and guidance!!

  8. #6
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    It is simple, you just need to get your head around the concept.

    1. It doesn't matter where you create the VM, so I'd stick with your normal location.
    2. The backup location is up to you.

    VM recovery is not just a matter of using the backup files. First you need to know whether the backup files are in a format that VMware can use - this seems unlikely as you are not cloning the VMs, you are backing up. I've not used Veaam backup so can't be sure.
    If you create the backup machine as a VM it would be worth duplicating that to a PC with VM player that can fire up the backup machine in an emergency, as you suggest. You also need access to the disk that contains the backup to enable you to restore it to the VM host.

    Note: a backup is of no value if you have not tested the restore process. In a VM environment this is essential.

    cheers, Paul

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